What the French get right about beauty and sexuality
I’m French living in the US. And while there many things wrong with France, one thing very right is our concept of beauty and sexuality—how it never fades with age. You are desired and seen as a sexual being all the way into your old age. No one gives as much of a shit as they do here about your wrinkles or cellulite or sagging tits. You are just as fuckable, and you remain so because you eat well and take care of yourself. The experience and wisdom that comes with your years as a sexual being makes you even more attractive. Women don’t suddenly get unflattering haircuts and let themselves go. They don’t change their wardrobe to look “less silly” or “more their age.” And if they must speak to a manager, they’ll look like a million dollars doing so. A person is like a fine wine in French culture—better and of greater value with age. The MILF next door is considered more attractive than the 20’s secretary at the office or fake-titted blonde in a porno because that woman has developed some mystery, sensuality, and skill over time. Even the film industry in France casts women who would never make it past the initial screenings here.
The way Americans popular culture mocks, belittles, and devalues older age on all levels, not just sexually, is shocking and hard to understand. Lolita complexes are just fucking weird to us, and I’m proud of that. Vive la France.
Apart from this, the US is cool
Edit: awwww you guys! Didn’t think this post would take so well
Edit 2: loving all the feedback and different perspectives on this! Appreciated.
moodylove: Damn just reading this made me feel for a second that I am actually beautiful and everything I’m stressing out over is stupid af and due to brainwashing.
-apple-: Reading this made makes me really happy. It’s beautiful. I wish it was like this all around the world.
iwantitnow8: Personally, beauty is beauty at 20 or 70. I have zero problem with acknowledging an “elder” to me as sexually enticing or arousing; or just beautiful in general.
pakap: Case in point: [this lady](https://p3.storage.canalblog.com/38/05/849913/113087509_o.jpg) (French actress Catherine Deneuve) is still the person that comes to my mind when I think about French elegance, and she’s pushing 70.
That said, as a French dude I wouldn’t say this is necessarily shared by everyone. We certainly have our share of toxic views about feminity, including Kardashian-style trash TV and tabloid culture. The view you’re describing is more of a bourgeois/upper-class viiew of feminity, I think.
smithjm7: I wish it were more this way here in the U.S. My girlfriends mom is Colombian and it’s very similar there. She’s in her 40s but still takes great care of herself, puts effort into her wardrobe, still goes dancing to have fun. My mom on the other hand, got “the mom” cut, dresses more modestly and, just doesn’t do those things now, and she said she feels like she damn because she’s too old which I find silly. Our society shouldn’t be that way. I for one don’t plan on getting the new balances, tuck my polo in to my khaki shorts and sit on my recliner when I become a dad. I want to do my best to stay healthy, feel and look good as long as I can.
doveinthesheets: I adore this mindset very much, but I just have to make a plug for all the pretty, short-haired ladies out there too! Sometimes making a drastic aesthetic change is fun, as long as you’re not just doing it ‘cause ‘you got old so you ought to.’
h1217579: I’m not French or old. But I love this.
KevlarSweetheart: Women are in their sexual prime when they hit their 30s for a reason.
I think people who take care of themselves are sexy in general. No matter the age. That’s why people like Angela Bassett and Helen Mirren are sexy well into aging. Not just physically, but they both have a sensual raw energy to them.
Slothfulness69: I’ve always thought this way about men but get told I have daddy issues lol.
It’s honestly really comforting to know that there are men who find women attractive even as they get older. I’m going to be in my 20s pretty soon and it’s been making me nervous because I’m not ready to date and stuff, but I feel like I’m running out of time cuz men only want young girls. Even men 2 or 3 times my age try to hit on me, and it makes me feel like men only like young girls. Like what’s gonna happen when I become old one day?
So yeah, it’s definitely good to know that men don’t always want young girls
crayonscooby: Meanwhile in Asia cheek and jaw shaving surgery are on the rise because it infantalizes adult women’s face. Pretty freaky seeing 40yo women walking around with prepubescent facial structure. Don’t get me started on that kawaii stuff either.
portray: Actually, I was watching this French show on Netflix called Call My Agent. The main plot of the story is that the main character is an older accomplished actress. She is getting passed over for younger actresses for casting and sponsorships simply because of her age. The agents at the talent agency tip toe around her trying not to tell her that the reason why she aren’t getting signed is because of her age.
Sure age doesn’t make a woman less sexy but I don’t think you should speak for every French person when you say “A person is like a fine wine in French culture—better and of greater value with age. The MILF next door is considered more attractive than the 20’s secretary at the office”. You might think that but that doesn’t mean that everyone feels that way in France.
live_oak-45: Right on buddy! Well said. You are making me wanting to move to France. I feel the same as you said!! Women of all ages certainly can be beautiful.
lePainCreal: It is very poetic and also not true, this may count for some regions in France but I live close to the border and believe me there are some very rude and extremely unattractive french people running around here by the bucketload. You can’t speak for the mindset of a whole nation because you feel this way and don’t get me wrong here I don’t want to be rude towards you but you are the exception to the rule when it comes to your general view of women.
basicdesires: Love this, should be mandatory reading around the globe. Who would’ve thought the French could teach us something apart from food culture.
Cerling_Stooper: I’m an Englishman and I live in the UK. I feel this, I often talk about older women, off TV and such, about them being attractive and people say “Aren’t they a bit old?” and I’m like no, not at all. If you’re attractive, you’re attractive, and that’s all there is to it. If you look healthy, are well presented you’ll probably be attractive. That shouldn’t really change with age.
BenisPlanket: I agree, but this isn’t unique to American or Canadian culture. For example, in South Korea it’s even worse. Japan too.
httresmd: America has a lot of unhealthy and diametrically opposed attitudes on sexuality. The religious right goes too far and makes it almost taboo. It’s naughty, for procreation and you should be a virgin until you’re married! The pendulum swings too far to the other side on the left in my opinion. The open agenda that’s pushed sterilizes sex as a mere biological function.
The attitude and hashtag activism is a push/pull practice that has left our society in a confused state that completely misses what I think is the most important part of it. The intimate connection of you and another person. You shouldn’t be shamed for experiencing or wanting to experience this. It’s one of life’s biggest joys. Conversely it also shouldn’t be just something you give to anyone for the sake of the pursuit of that pleasure. It’s a bond that you and that person are sharing and meaningless sex can mess with one’s self worth as well.
In the end, it sounds like France has the right approach. Sex, desire and appreciation of everyone as a sexual being is healthy. It’s not trying to deny anything. It sounds like an accepting and reverence of the romantic and pleasurable side of sex.
bk2pm: >Apart from this, the US is cool
there’s *plenty* more about the US and it’s culture that sucks, don’t have to sugar coat it.
FancyPotato22: I’m gonna move to France when I get over the hill
Eyiolf_the_Foul: I lived in France with a Parisian family that was pretty wealthy when I was younger for 9 months (dated their daughter who was an au pair. )
I can confirm all you say OP. The 50-60yr old women were sexy as hell there! I remember sitting on a couch with the family one nite and her dad is flipping channels and we roll into a thrusting cock scene from the porn that ran on late nite tv on like what we would call showtime. It was kinda awkward tho being in the room with the parents but we all kinda shrugged.
HappySubbie: Why do you get that impression about USA? We see it in celebrities a lot…Jennifer Aniston is 49 and still looks banging, as are many other older stars. And yeah, Jennifer Aniston is probably more attractive than many 20 something year olds. Some people are just born prettier than others.
I think we can all agree that when a woman takes care of herself, dresses well, exercises, eats healthy, her beauty will last a long time.
ROCKETxBLUSH: Every culture is different, I’m just glad I’m in America. There’s countries that shun women’s sexuality, they will never see how beautiful and happy people become when they are freed from shame and guilt.
odiwankenobi: As an American in France a couple of months through the year, there are a lot of things the French do that are completely different and in my opinion, put more value in people than Americans. People are sexual until old age, if you are French, you are french ( the states you are not just American but a hyphenated something else as well most of the time), if there’s a terrorist attack, you carry on living the same as you did before.
This is due to having a very old culture but also a very different history and I appreciate it so much. I miss it when I’m not here for the rest of the year because of the people. I know some other people think the French are arrogant or nationalistic, but I think they’re just proud and why shouldn’t they be?
Spoonbills: brb retiring to France
Zeldahillvale: I need to move to France.
photonfuel: Tellement vrai !
PatDude0000: Agree wholeheartedly.. goes beyond sexuality though. Even what you can do as an adult gets limited. Very much goes from you as a person and what you can do from a productivity standpoint.
Dreadnought-1: Age discrimination is quite frankly something that has gone on for so long it’s considered okay… which isn’t okay
heythere_2321: As an American, I agree.
rainbow_dduk: I’m an expat in France. I’ve been here about 6 months and it’s true… Almost every mature lady I’ve met has been so beautifully put together, like they take such good care of themselves – the simplicity is really charming. You’re completely right, like the older and more professional they are, the cuter their well coordinated outfits are! It just inspires me to be more elegant as I age too.
In the U.S. it’s like you start losing your sexuality after giving birth and become like grey colorless blob with a prison bob. Forget past 50, in America it’s like only teens are allowed to be frivolous and care or make an effort or have fun with their appearance. You’re completely right and I can’t believe I never realized. Like my 75 MIL still wears cute little shift minidresses :]
ThroughAway2018: I’m an American who is living in France. American beauty is youth oriented because that’s how our huge industry of entertainment and media defined for us Americans. Many of us desire the youthful look and perfect body. No wonder why many Americans hit the gym to “look good” and stay healthy. Many French on the other hand could care less looking “fit” but at least many try to stay healthy except some continue to smoke.
And speaking about sexuality, you can blame it on the Puritans who were one of the first Europeans who arrived in the New World. That mentality still carry to this day. Americans are a lot less comfortable with their body than the Europeans. You won’t catch an American guys with Speedos. Mostly board shorts. Attitude towards female breasts are quite different between Americans and Europeans. And nudism in the US isn’t practice as much as in France, Spain, Germany or other Western European countries.
And beside having Hollywood in our backyard, we also have huge porn industry. Size matter more to Americans than the Europeans. Bigger breast, bigger penis. Anyway, you get the picture.
Grunt0302: IMO – Most men judge beauty in terms of sex appeal (desire to have sex) rather than ‘beauty’.
justagal_008: America has extremely destructive views on sex in general, never mind the age of women. And if one isn’t pretty and perfect enough with no human needs of her own, it’s ridiculously easier to take another swipe on tindr and meet up with the next cute Barbie. Until it becomes apparent that she too is a real human, and then it’s on to the next one again. Anyone that asks for a little dignity and affection becomes “that crazy high maintenance bitch.”
Not to mention there are those radical feminists today that won’t let a man value a woman, because it’s seen as demeaning. Little do they know that they’re just encouraging worse behavior and robbing many women of basic deserved respect.
cim_fan: Love it!
holyshithestall: As a young guy who recently ambush shaved someones head as a favor that ended up going really well, I just wanna use this age positive environment to encourage balding men to embrace it, shave your head when you’re balding, nothing says confidence like being willing to embrace the change and rock it.
Hypatia415: Ever watch the classic movie Harold and Maude?
ronin_hxx: Totally agree with this. I’m homegrown in the USA. While yes of course i have my preferences in what I’m super attracted to, a beautiful woman is beautiful no matter what age, weight, whatever.
WinSmith1984: Meilleur exemple : Monica Bellucci, 53 ans et toujours la plus belle femme du monde!
The_Slytherpuffle: Damn this is how I wish everyone thought. You and the French are beautiful people. Thank you for existing
_Malachaai_: Thank you for this. I’m 46, and married with an almost 18 year old son. I feel and look younger, which is great in some ways, but it makes me feel awkward to answer when people ask how old I am. You’ve done a lot for making me feel more relevant, that age really is just a number.
PutYourDeathMaskOn: Think I’m moving to France then! By the way, I love your writing style. That was very pleasant to read.
springwanders: My gosh just your words literally make me feel so turn on already
MjolnirDK: Sth that the french and italians really do know is eroticism. Their sensuality, expression and selfexpression is so captivating. Sth that is completely unknown to America.
peltforth: I’m American and my SO is French. If she looks anything like her mom in 30 years I’ll be a happy man.
clovisx: I spent a week and a half in France last month. A co-worker of mine went after I got back and we both came to the conclusion that there are several benefits to French/European culture that are lacking. I didn’t experience this one so much but definitely noticed their support and encouragement of families, working parents, quality of food and reasonable portions, and many other social and societal elements.
There is a lot about the US that I like but we are an ageist society. My wife works as a care assistant in a retirement (non-medical) community. She is taking care of people and making sure they can live as independently as possible and is paid peanuts for the effort. We don’t value the aged here and only just acknowledged as a society that they are still sexual beings even though they are past their “prime/fertile” years.
I’m not sure I could ever convince her to move overseas but after a taste of France, I am giving it some consideration.
likestocuddleandmore: I blame religion, jesusfreak! In US, I’ve met very good looking fit well dressed ladies who purposefully playdown their sexuality because “When you’re my age, attracting male attention is not classy.” Whuut?
Also, in France, there is a certain je ne sais quoi… everybody looks (regardless of their actual looks) like they have a sexy secret,oozing subtle nonverbal sexuality… it’s in the air.
ssr402: A lot of older French people at least still make an effort to look good and stay trim. Whereas it seems most Americans now totally let themselves go and pack on the weight. There’s nothing sexy about being fat any unable to climb a staircase without getting winded.
SirodSaira: This is the most pretentious thing I’ve ever read.
lockedoutofvenus: “And if they must speak to a manager, they’ll look like a million dollars doing so.”
fit_wolverine: I’ve stayed 2 years in France. I don’t find this accurate. The ‘age diminishes sexuality’ sort of attitude that we see in US in pretty visible in France too. It’s just a bit stronger in US than it is France.
I love the idea of a person being a sexual being till old age, but its not that way in France. Atleast not from what I’ve seen. Old woman are seen with a ‘motherly’ attitude in France too.
rubermnkey: “In all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:
1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.
2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.
3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.
4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.
6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.
7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.
8. And Lastly They are so grateful!!”
― Benjamin Franklin
Reminded me of something Franklin wrote about, who famously loved his time in France.
LuckySeaShells: Is cheating still as taboo there as it is here? I had read that the perception that affairs are common in France is actually a myth?
lavender97: Yes thank you!!
Lorne_Soze: So that explains Brigitte Macron
TinyMaintenance: I’m curious on why do you think that France is superior to US in only that one category?
seagullsensitive: It’s so frustrating that while my country is within half a day’s drive from France, we definitely side with the USA here. My mother retired last year, but she was a power woman, had a good career and dressed the part. She made sure to check in with me sometimes, whether something was not too “young”, because she needed to look professional in her job. People consistently estimated her fifteen to ten years younger than she was. Not because she had smooth skin or thick hair, but solely because she dressed like a confident, professional woman, and that is a rare thing for women her age to do around here.
While she shops differently now that she’s retired, cheaper, she still makes sure to look put together. I tell her something makes her look old and boring sometimes, and she’ll never wear that item again. She’s putting a larger emphasis on comfort now, sure, but she’ll never look like a stereotypical “middle-aged woman”.
I love her so much for that.
SavvySavannah777: Yup! And the French take such excellent care of themselves. The US is such a youth orientated society so 22yr old obese girls think they’re “sexier” than a beautiful, fit 52yr old which (IMHO) isn’t the case. Thank you for articulating this so well. It’s health, upkeep, & mystique that increases sexuality not age.
ice_and_snow: French also knows how to flirt and make each other feel sexual.
This has been lost in many other western countries, in the name of gender equality.
They are in peace with their sexuality, and differences that comes with it. So they can flirt elegantly, without harrasing.
FreshPrinceOfIndia: American pop culture really does need work, the issues with its terrible asian and indian representations is still active today
beetard: Just curious here, do you think women that can no longer Bear children remain as fuckable as ones that can? It seems counter intuitive to me. I’m a young (ish) man and find women +/-5 years to me as the most attractive. As a teen i was into teens. In my 20s i wasn’t very attracted to women in their 30s. Now that I’m in my 30s i couldn’t imagine being with a teen or a 20 year old. I can definitely see beauty in older women, but I’m not particularly attracted to them. I can admire older women for their beauty and attractiveness but i wouldn’t be sexually attracted to one much younger or much older. I’m sure as i age my tastes in women will too. And as a man that wants a family ifor i look for potential mother’s for my potential children
kayb1987: Cutting your hair makes you unfuckable. How about go fuck yourself?
BlueBayou18: You guys also have porn on display in public and there are kids walking around. I wouldn’t go around bragging about that. When we visited Paris we turned on the tv in the hotel and there was full on pornography.
Smidest: America is the best. That’s why you’re here and I’m not there. Keep your opinions to yourself